Colstrip City Council

Somebody Does Want to Be Mayor

NovemberisComing-150As of yesterday (June 29) there are two candidates for the three open Colstrip City offices.

Darla Davidson has filed for the office of Mayor.  Mike Esser has filed for the office of City Council-member.  That means there’s one more spot for Council still open.

Filing for the ballot closes at 5:00 PM on Thursday (7/2).  That’s only two days away!

City Council Meeting-September 23

regular meeting badgeGood morning Colstrip!  Your City Council will meet tonight starting at 7PM at City Hall.

Have you ever attended a Council meeting before?  It can be helpful to know the people who were elected to serve you and manage tax payer funds.  By going to a meeting you’ll get to meet your representatives and learn a little bit about them while watching them think through and decide on agenda items.

The line up for the evening is:

Public Comment and Participation
A. Public Hearing – Solid Waste Special Assessments

Unfinished Business
A. Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy
B. Resolution No. 2014 – R16/Goodwill Policy
C. Resolution No. 2014 – R22/Solid Waste Special Assessments

New Business
A. Interlocal Agreement w/Colstrip Public Schools
B. Mobile Home Purchase
C. Public Works Department Pickup Purchase
D. Bid Award – Backwash Treatment System

Let me know if you have any questions about the listed items. I can help you find out about the details.

The Police Commissioner and a Snow Plow

On Tuesday night, September 9, 2014 starting at 7 PM, the Colstrip City Council will hold the first regular meeting of the month.   The agenda is a full one; the most items of business since the Spring.

1 .Public Comment and Participation

2. Unfinished Business
A. Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy
B. Goodwill Policy
C. Tree Ordinance

3. New Business
A. Solid Waste Special Assessments
B. Resolution No. 2014-R20/Rosebud County Pre-Disaster  Mitigation Plan
C. Resolution No. 2014-R21/Budget Transfers
D. Police Commission Appointment
E. Special Events Permit/Homecoming Parade
F. Snow Plow Purchase
G. Reduction In Force
H. Additional Police Officer Position
I. Code Enforcement
J. Starting Wages for New Police Officers and Dispatchers
K. Planning/Building & Zoning Official Position Description, Hours & Wage

See the official agenda on the City of Colstrip website.

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Budget Review: It’s worth your interest

dollar signOn Tuesday, August 26, at the regular City Council meeting, the Council will hold the public hearing for the new annual budget.  Two weeks ago, the Council approved the preliminary proposal for roughly 7.6 million dollars with another 4 million in reserve.  Nearly 4 million of that comes from tax revenue; that’s right, the money you and local businesses directly pay into the pot through property taxes.  The other approximately 3.3 million comes from other, non-levy revenues from various government sources.  At the public hearing, you have an opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, or voice your opinions about the proposed budget.

Rarely does any city resident ask questions about the budget.  Nonetheless, the budget process is always open for questions and review.  The Council, Mayor and City staff spend many months preparing for and planning the budget.

The budget is an overwhelming document and much of is not easy to understand if you’ve never before read through a large budget, but if you’re interested to view it, there are two pages that provide a summary of the entire document.  If you take a look at the pages titled “City of Colstrip Tax Levy Schedule 2014-2015 Budget” and “Summary Schedule 2014-2015 Budget Non-Levied Funds” you’ll get a two page snapshot of the entire budget; the revenue totals and the expense totals.  You can stop by City Hall and ask for a copy of the entire document or just these two pages.

The whole document makes for a lot of reading and you may not care for much of it, but the two pages listed above make for an easy and quick review.  I encourage you to at least take a passive interest your city budget.  It’s a lot of money, but a part of it is yours.  Don’t you want to know how it’s being spent?

 

What Happened to Summer? or What You’ve Missed the Last 2 1/2 Months.

Olaf-In Summer-Disney's FrozenSchool is nearly back in session and summer vacations are coming to an end.  As we all re-orient our minds to the coming Fall you may want to know what happened within your Colstrip City Council during the last 2 1/2 months.

Over the Summer the Council voted to increase limits in the City Purchasing Policy, a backhoe was repaired to the tune of $20,000, two-hundred more garbage cans were ordered, and some special event permits were passed for the Colstrip Days and Independence Day celebrations.

Of more significant note, contract negotiations are on going for the City’s two bargaining units, the City Employee union and the Police Union, and the annual Preliminary Budget was passed for roughly 7 million dollars.  The public hearing for the budget is scheduled for the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 26.

And there you have it, the highlights of another fabulous Summer in Colstrip, Montana.

Meeting Minutes for March 25, 2014–Colstrip City Council

At the regular Colstrip City Council held on Wednesday, March 25, 2014 the Council considered six (6) motions and approved six (6) motions.  All council members and the mayor were present.  No members of the public spoke when the floor was opened for pubic comment.  You can read the official minutes online at cityofcolstrip.com.

The Business

Add Two Claims to the Consent Agenda

Motion: Council-member Miller made a motion to add a claim from DPS Company for the amount of $50,019.87 and a claim from Department of Revenue for $505.25 the Consent Agenda at the request of Mayor Hanser.  Council-member Jankowski seconded.

Discussion:

No discussion was offered.

No public comment was received.

Result: Motion carried all in favor.

 

Approve Consent Agenda

Motion:  Council-member Jankowski moved to approve Consent Agenda with the addition of the two claims and correction to the minutes.  Council-member Koczur seconded.

Discussion:

No discussion was offered.

No public comment was received.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Health Insurance Benefit for Elected Officials

Motion: Council-member Williams moved to approve Resolution No. 2014-R08 to allow elected and appointed officials to participate in the city’s group health insurance program with Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority.  Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

Council-member Miller “asked if it will be included in the resolution who will be paying for the health insurance”.  Attorney Ryder explained that the resolution refers to the budgetary process as the method used to decide the funding for the proposal.  Council-member Williams further explained that the “resolution only authorizes the participation of the officials and is not to decide who will pay for it”.

No public comment was received.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Amendment 2 to Engineering Task Order No. 11

Motion: Council-member Williams moved to approve Amendment 2 to Engineering Task Order No. 11 for the Water Plant Backwash System in the amount of $97,916.00.  Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

Council-member Jankowski asked “if there were any modifications to the other terms and conditions of the original task order”.  The engineer from KLJ Billings stated “there are no modifications to the original terms and conditions”.

No public comment was received.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Chemical Purchase for Public Works Department

Motion: Council-member Jankowski moved to approve the request from Public Works Director Swan to purchase chemicals from Hawkins in the amount of $13,231.60. Council-member Koczur seconded.

Discussion:

Council-member Miller asked “if there is any risk in raising the purchasing policy limit so that it would not be necessary to come to the city council for prior approval for this type of purchase”.  This question will be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting.

No public comment received.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Meeting Adjournment

Motion: Council-member Jankowski moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:05 PM. Council-member Miler seconded.

Discussion:

No discussion was offered.

No public comment received.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

NOTE: The information above is from the official draft copy of the March 25, 2014 meeting minutes available to the public online and upon request from the office of Colstrip City Clerk.

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Colstrip City Update: Week of April 6, 2014

Summary:

On Tuesday night, 4/8, starting at 7:00 PM, the Colstrip City Council will meet in regular session at City Hall.

The main business on the agenda will be:

  • Public Hearing/Wastewater Preliminary Engineering Report
  • Resolution No. 2014-R09/Health Insurance Benefit for Mayor
  • Additional Public Works Department Employee
  • Resolution No. 2014-R10/Budget Transfers
  • Fireworks Purchase
  • Concrete Pad at New City Shop
  • Anthracite Purchase for Water Treatment Plant
  • Resolution No. 2014-R11/Safety & Health Program

The meeting will begin promptly at 7:00 PM.  All are welcome to attend.  Comments and questions are welcome during specified times of the meeting.

More information:

Public Hearing/Wastewater Preliminary Engineering Report

A public hearing for “the purpose of obtaining public comments regarding the ongoing Wastewater Preliminary Engineering Report project.”  During the hearing, the City’s engineer consultant, KLJ of Billings, will: provide an overview of the report and project, highlight the problems with the wastewater system used by the City, summarizes the recommended solutions and financing options.  The system is organized into two components: collection and treatment.  KLJ will provide seven (7) proposals to fix the collection system with costs ranging from $105,000-$372,000.  KLJ will also recommend eight (8) solutions to fix the transmission system with costs ranging from $34,000-$1.5 million.

Resolution No. 2014-R09/Health Insurance Benefit for Mayor

This resolution is a follow up to the previous Council meeting and a recent Personnel Committee recommendation.  The committee recommended the Council allow the Mayor “to be eligible for the payment of the individual Madison Plan Single Coverage premium available to (sic) the City’s health insurance provider, MMIA” and advised that there is enough funds in the Mayor’s budget to pay the premium.  They also noted that the cost to continue of the benefit into future budget years should be addressed in the upcoming budget year.

Additional Public Works Department Employee

The Public Works Committee met on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 to consider the request to create one more employee position within the Public Works Department.  The committee recommended that the Council approve one additional Union position within the Public Works Department.  Mayor Hanser also stated in a memo to the Council, “it is anticipated that the City would have two (2) Senior Operator Positions; two (2) Utility/Maintenance 1 Positions; one (1) Solid Water Position; one (1) Lead Operator Position.”  Public Works Directory Bryan Swan wrote in a memo to the Council that, “the hiring of an additional employee would be a first step toward that goal” of starting up new and improving current department programs.

On a related note, the Mayor also requested in a memo written to the Council that the Council would consider creating a position of assistant to the Public Works director in the future.

Resolution No. 2014-R10/Budget Transfers

This is a standard resolution that if passed would authorize the City to transfer various funds from one budget appropriation to another.  New money will not be added to the current budget, but merely moved to another account within the current budget.

Fireworks Purchase

The Colstrip Volunteer Fire Department will request permission to purchase fireworks for Colstrip Days celebration for the quoted amount of $7,378.50 from Big Sky Fireworks in Helena, MT.  This is an annual request and planned for in the annual budget.

Concrete Pad at New City Shop

When the new city shop was designed, a 1317 sq/ft concrete pad located in the front of the building was included.  However, this was taken out of the original design “to bring the bid price down”.  The Public Works Director now wants the concrete pad to be constructed.  It will “be used for parking and for a vehicle wash-down area” and :serve to protect shop foundation integrity by providing drainage away from the building”.  The shop building project came in under budget and the new concrete pad can be paid for from the shop building fund.  The total bid amount from Total Asphalt Repair is $10,410.50.

Anthracite Purchase for Water Treatment Plant

Anthracite coal is one of the three main components used in the water filters at the Water Treatment Plant; the other two being garnet sand and gravel.  The anthracite coal layer of the filter system is “at least 12 inches low in all 4 filters” and has not been re-added “for some time”.  In order to bring the anthracite layer back to an efficient layer, at least 1500 cubic feet is needed.  The Public Works Director solicited two bids from both suppliers the City has used in the past and received a bid from only one.  The supplier. Brentag, offered a bid for a total of $27,662.50.

Resolution No. 2014-R11/Safety & Health Program

The City utilizes an employee focused safety and health program with the goal of reducing “the number of job-related fatalities, illnesses, and injuries” and “applies to hazards covered by the Montana Safety Culture Act, General Duty Clause and by OSHA standards”.  The Council will discuss and possibly update the current health and safety program policies and procedures.

Note: All citations and quotes were taken from public documents provided by the office of Colstrip City Clerk.

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Notice of Committee Meeting-Public Works 4-2-2014

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 2:00 PM, the Colstrip City Council’s Public Works Committee will meet at City Hall to discuss:

  • the Public Works director’s request to hire an additional employee for the department

The meeting is open to the public.

 

Start Time: 2:00 PM
Location: City Hall
Committee: Public Works

Notice of Committee Meeting-Committee of the Whole 4-2-2014

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 1:00 PM, the Colstrip City Council’s Committee of the Whole will meet at City Hall to discuss:

  • the city safety program
  • budget transfers
  • items regarding the Public Works department

 

The meeting is open to the public.

 

Start Time: 1:00 PM
Location: City Hall
Committee: Committee of the Whole

Meeting Minutes for March 12, 2014–Colstrip City Council

At the regular Colstrip City Council held on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 the Council considered six (6) motions and approved six (6) motions.  A total of five members of the public spoke regarding two motions when the floor was opened for pubic comment.  You can read the official minutes online at cityofcolstrip.com.

The Business

Garage Size Variance Request/4011 Prospector Drive

Motion: Council-member Williams made a motion to Grant a variance to the garage size limitation for a 2,620 sq ft garage at 4011 Prospector.  Council-member Koczur seconded.

Discussion:

In his motion, Council-member Williams referred the fact that the “City Council has previously approved similar requests.”  During the discussion of the motion, Council-member Williams suggested that “Building/Planning official Morgan review the code and consider revising it to reflect the actual use of property in the acerage  tracts.”  Council-member Koczur later stated that “the semi-trailer has been parked at this residence for years and is not aware of any complaints or problems.”  In response, Building/Planning Official Morgan stated, “semi-trailers are not normally allowed in residential areas but Colstrip does not have an industrial district to accommodate this and feels this qualifies as a hardship.”  She clarified, “the garage size limitation has already been increased once from 1,500 square feet to 1,800 square feet.”  Mayor Hanser commented that “this request would not decrease land values or constitute a fire danger and is consistent with the neighborhood.”  Council-member Miller “believes the garage sizes should be handled on a case by case basis because not all of the lots in this subdivision are larger than an acre.”

No public comment was received.

Result: Motion carried all in favor.

 

Assisted Living Facility Conditional Use Request/7437 Castle Rock Lake Drive

Motion:  Council-member Koczur moved to approve Conditional Use Request for Dorian Sichi to operate an assisted living facility at 7437 Castle Rock Lake Drive.  Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

Building/Planning Official Morgan explained that the proposed facility would serve 7-12 residents.  Currently, the intended location for this facility operates as a bed and breakfast.  State law requires a conditional use be granted if a residential facility holds more than eight residents.  Council-member Miller asked “what kind of residents would be cared for” to which Attorney Ryder answered, “state licensing procedure specifies what kind of patients can be taken care of at the facility.”  Mrs Sichi later responded that she “plans to take elderly residents who cannot take care of themselves at home.”

Council-member Williams voiced his support for the project and “welcomes the opportunity”.  Council-member Miller also spoke in support of the proposal.

Four residents of Colstrip spoke during the public comment portion of the discussion.  John Sizen of Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) read a letter of support from SEMDC director Jim Atchison.  Branden Blake, of Castle Rock Lake Drive, voiced concerns of overflow parking since “the current bed and breakfast has vehicle overflow problems into the city street.”  Dorian Sichi spoke in favor of her request and answered some  concerns raised during the discussion.  She intends to operate an “upscale living facility for the residents of Colstrip” and that the intended residents would not have vehicles parked on site since they are not able to drive.  Andrew Kohn, a resident living on Piedmont, spoke in support of the project and said he “knows Mrs Sichi well and that she sets a high standard in everything she does”.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Health Insurance Benefit for the Mayor

Motion: Council-member Williams moved to Provide opportunity for [Colstrip] elected officials to purchase insurance through the MMIA Employee Benefits Program and that any possible funding for the Mayor’s insurance be sent to the Personnel Committee for recommendation.  Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

Councilperson Williams spoke in favor saying “when he became a council member he tried to address the compensation level of the Mayor. He feels the Mayor’s compensation should be commensurate with the responsibilities of the position.”  Council-members Miller and Koczur agreed the question should be sent to committee for recommendation.

One resident spoke during the public comment portion of the discussion.  Ken Stokes, of Sage Ct, agreed “that the Mayor and City Council should be able to purchase the city’s health insurance but does not feel the city should pay for it.”

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Police Vehicle Repair

Motion 1: Council-member Koczur moved to sell the 2008 Crown Victoria [police cruiser] as is without repair via online auction. Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

No discussion or public comment received.

Result 1: Motion carried with all in favor.

Motion 2: Council-member Koczur moved to Approve the additional cost of purchasing the new police vehicle without the trade-in of th 2008 Crown Victoria in the amount of $36,674.00. Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

No discussion or public comment received.

Result 2: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

Maintenance Worker/Laborer

Motion: Council-member Koczur moved to refer question of an additional Maintenance Worker/Laborer position to the Public Works Committee. Council-member Miller seconded.

Discussion:

Council-member Koczur “asked if it would be a part time or full time position.” Public Works Director Swan answered that the request is for a full time position.

No public comment received.

Result: Motion carried with all in favor.

 

The Record

Motion Moved by Seconded by Council Discussion Public Comments Tom Jankowski Greg Koczur Lawretta Miller John Williams Mayor Rose Hanser Result Date
Grant a variance to the garage size limitation for a 2,620 sq ft garage at 4011 Prospector. John Williams Greg Koczur Yes No absent yes yes yes n/a Pass 03/12/14
Approve Conditional Use Request for Dorian Sichi to operate an assisted living facility at 7437 Castle Rock Lake Drive Greg Koczur Lawretta Miller Yes Yes absent yes yes yes n/a Pass 03/12/14
Provide opportunity for [Colstrip] elected officials to purchase insurance through the MMIA Employee Benefits Program and that any possible funding for the Mayor’s insurance be sent to the Personnel Committee for recommendation. John Williams Lawretta Miller Yes Yes absent yes yes yes n/a Pass 03/12/14
Sell the 2008 Crown Victoria [police cruiser] as is without repair via online auction. Greg Koczur Lawretta Miller No No absent yes yes yes n/a Pass 03/12/14
Approve the additional cost of purchasing the new police vehicle without the trade-in of th 2008 Crown Victoria in the amount of $36,674.00. Greg Koczur Lawretta Miller No No absent yes yes yes n/a Pass 03/12/14
Refer question of an additional Maintenance Worker/Laborer position to the Public Works Committee. Greg Koczur Lawretta Miller Yes No absent yes yes yes n/a Pass 03/12/14

 

NOTE: The information above is from the official draft copy of the March 12, 2014 meeting minutes available to the public online and upon request from the office of Colstrip City Clerk.

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